Who doesn’t love a good party? If you’re travelling to Quito in December, here are the top things to enjoy during Fiestas de Quito.
The first week of December Quito has a different feel to it, the people seem a little bit more cheerful and the streets a little bit more crowded. The hippest clubs have already announced weeks prior fiestas that will bound to amaze you and keep your feet on the dancefloor, party buses cruise around at night blasting Latin music and in Old Town a handful of daring carts speeds down the street…it’s Fiestas de Quito and the city refuses to sleep!
The 6th of December is known as Quito’s foundation day but nowadays it’s a good excuse to party and take part in some of the traditional annual activities. Behold a list of things to do during Fiestas de Quito:
Watch a “coches de madera” race
One of Quito’s most cherished traditions is the “wooden cart races”, where children bullet down Calle Mejia starting from El Tejar neighborhood in their carts made entirely out of wood and rubber tires. The children inside with just a helmet to protect them and a smile from ear to ear, compete to win. Their parents, and hundreds of onlookers, cheer them on, remembering the time when they also raced at breakneck speeds. It all began with the Aguilar brothers Marco and Jorge, who organized the first competition in 1973 as a charitable event for the Baca Ortiz Children’s Hospital. Now, 43 years later, the annual competition remains intact. Children continue to build their race carts with the help of their parents, hoping to garner prestige and the year’s title.
This delicious hot drink is just what you need to warm you up in the freezing nights in Quito. It is a Quiteño delicacy that people drink all year round but it is known specially during these festivities. You can’t miss the sweet smell of naranjilla, cinnamon and (of course) the booze… better known as “puntas”, a strong artisanal alcoholic beverage.
Ride a Chiva!
You have to get on one of these insane party buses at night. It goes without saying that they are not the safest means of transportation: they cruise around without any windows, some don’t even have seats just ropes on the ceiling so you can hold on to, there’s a pole in the middle of the bus to dance on, music blasting full volume and more than a few canelazos are passed on. It will, however, assure you a memorable night through the city streets!
Visit La Ronda
This emblematic street in Quito’s Old Town is a favorite. During the day you can visit the restaurants and quaint little shops that offer anything from hats, old wooden children’s games, to art studios and an ice cream shop with eyebrow-raising flavors. And at night La Ronda is full of people who want to drink canelazo, taste the gigantic wind empanadas, enjoy street musicians and dance the night away!
Cuarenta (40 in Spanish) is a traditional card game that Quiteños enjoy the most during Fiestas de Quito. An enthusiastic local will without a doubt teach you the rules to their beloved game. Grab a partner and enjoy a good “cuarenta”!